Pregnancy has never been easy for me. I was told on my mission that I probably couldn't have kids...and I never really had a problem with that. I have a testimony that children are a stewardship given to us. They aren't something we possess, but an opportunity for us to help them get back to their Heavenly Father and love them as much as possible. Because of this, adoption was no different in my mind than giving birth to a child. Once Neil and I got married, we soon found out that we could get pregnant, which came as a surprise to us. We weren't married for very long when we found out we were pregnant. First we were completely shocked and then a little scared...and then the joy comes, an overwhelming indescribable joy. We lost that baby, around 10 weeks and learned that I had something called Uterus Dydelphus. (You can look that up and learn more...its quite interesting) We learned that getting pregnant isn't hard, but it is keeping the baby alive that was the hard part. Learning this gave us hope that we could have children.
Now, just a quick history: We had three miscarriages (all different lengths of pregnancy) before we had our Preston. He went full term and was a big, healthy baby. The joy we felt was amazing and made up for all the loss we felt before him. We thought that we had it figured out and could try again when we were ready and maybe have more children. The hope was that we did it once and knew it was possible. When Preston was 6 months old we decided to try for a second. (yes, crazy i know now...but didn't feel it then, haha.) We had two more miscarriages and then Mason joined our family. There were several moments that I thought we even lost Mason, but we were so blessed that he could keep growing and came only two weeks early. Mason came smaller than Preston, but healthy and happy. He was such a smiley little one so early on. After all that we knew more kids were going to be harder than expected. 7 pregnancies, 5 miscarriages. We weren't quite sure when we would be ready to try again.
Life can get really crazy, and that is when we are often pushed even further. I know our Heavenly Father loves us so much. Last fall we were building our house, dealing with Mason's Eosinophilic Esophagitis and all the testing and procedures that go along with that, trying to potty train Preston, constantly sick children, and living for a while with my sister-in-law and her family. Life wasn't exactly easy. One particular week I was so tired and couldn't shake it and then realized I was a week late. I took a pregnancy test and was shocked when it was positive. We weren't planning or trying or anything. I felt completely drained and wasn't sure I had more to give, but knew that this was a miracle. We were so blessed to find a specialist that gave us the required hormones and medicine to get the process going for us. We found out early, so we were hopeful and so grateful that everything seemed to fall into place so quickly. Heavenly Father was really watching out for us.
Life was rough. I was so sick and had such a hard time taking care of the children. Neil worked so hard to keep us all together. He was up with the children at night, waking up with them in the morning and getting them breakfast, dressed and ready for the day. He would call and text and then come home and spend his time playing with the boys. He put them to bed and then would often go back to work on his laptop. He worked so, so hard for our little family and Lucy, but we were excited to possibly have a girl and complete our family.
We had such hope. I went to the doctors almost every two weeks and heard her little heartbeat every single time...healthy and happy. She was a mover and didn't like to stay in once place for very long. I started cramping around 12 weeks and went in a little concerned. I was told that it was contractions and that I needed to take it easy and not lift over 20 pounds. I had lots of family help and Neil, once again, jumped in even harder to make it all happen. I had never felt more fragile before. My body couldn't handle much and I was so worried about this little one making it.
The day we found out, we were heading to my cousin's funeral. I knew I needed to go to the appointment though, so at 9 I headed to the doctor and had my mom drop me off at the hospital on her way down for the viewing. We planned for Neil to meet me at the doctors and then we would go to the funeral together. We thought that since I was 17 weeks that we might find out the gender and were so excited about that! We wanted a girl. I went in and the nurse started with the heart beat monitor and couldn't seem to find it. This wasn't normal for me since I usually went in for a ultrasound. I started to worry, but she didn't seem concerned. They decided to get me into an ultrasound room to just see things better and see the heartbeat. It seemed to take quite a while for that to happen. Once I got into the room I was already super apprehensive and nervous. She got everything ready and I laid down on the bed. She put the wand on my stomach and it immediately showed a perfect view of the baby. She was still and there was no heartbeat. I knew in that moment. Nobody needed to say anything. She kept moving the wand around trying to make something happen, but finally she gave up and said she was sorry and was going to go get the doctor. Right as she was leaving Neil walked in. He excitedly asked if I saw the gender and that was when I started to cry. It was so unexpected and saying it out loud to him made it all of a sudden more real. It was real. I was so happy he was there. He held me as I cried and cried and kept apologizing to him. I struggle knowing that my body is so imperfect and is the reason we can't seem to keep children. I know it's not my fault, but always know that it is me. Neil has always been such an amazing husband. He has a strong testimony of the love of our Heavenly Father and of the power of the Priesthood. Anyways, back to the story...the doctor came in to verify and saw the same thing. This time Neil was there to see as well. She measured the baby's head and said that it must have happened in the last couple days or so. She apologized as well and then started talking to us about what we wanted to do. There were no signs for me, like there normally are...like bleeding or increased cramping or nausea. It was so sudden. She gave us the option of seeing if it would happen naturally, but wasn't sure how long that would take. She also said we could induce labor, but there was a risk that the placenta might not come, so we would have to go in and have a D and C to remove that and ensure everything was okay. The other option was a D and C to begin with. We decided to think about it and go to the funeral.
Later that day we decided to do a D and C. The thought broke my heart because I felt like it wasn't enough. I wanted to know the gender and hold this baby, but knew that at the growth the baby was it wouldn't look like what I expected and might be quite deformed. I wasn't sure I could handle that either. After weighing the risks and options it was decided. I called the doctors and they said that the soonest they could schedule the procedure was on Monday morning, really early. I wanted it to be sooner...like Thursday or Friday, but that wasn't possible. So, we waited...and endured the weekend.
Thursday was so hard. I just wanted to stay in bed all day and cry. My body was exhausted and I was mentally exhausted. I was blessed to have lots of family in town because of the funeral that helped me so much. I'm so grateful for family and friends that were here for support and just to listen. Each day got a little easier and with my mom here I was quite distracted. Neil was struggling at this point, more than I expected and I started thinking about him more and worried about his grieving process.
Sunday night Neil and I talked about how we were so ready for this to be over and for my body to stop feeling pregnant and get back to normal life. Neil and Carl gave me a blessing in preparation for Monday morning. (I want you...I guess anyone that reads this...to know that these experiences are sweet and close to my heart and a little hard to share. I will edit a little because of privacy, but speak as candidly as possible.) It was such a sweet blessing. My heart was filled with such love from my Heavenly Father. I felt comforted in the choice that we had made. At one point Neil paused...and got a little emotional, and then said that my angel babies would be supporting me through this. I felt that so deeply and was so grateful. Neil also received a blessing from Carl that we would be given added strength, patience, love and so many other wonderful things. I know that the next day I felt all of those as we were together struggling. We went to bed that night ready for the next morning.
Monday we woke up early and left the kids at home with my mom. We left around 7:15. It was freezing cold outside. We got to the hospital and started filling out the pre-registration information. Then, we waited to be called back to pre-op. This seemed to take forever. I was fasting and so so nauseous. They finally called us back and told me to get undressed and dressed in the hospital gown and pants. At the same time they gave Neil more paperwork to fill out. I went to the bathroom and then came back and started to dress when Neil looked up at me and said he wasn't sure he could fill these out...with some tears in his eyes. I came over and sat next to him wondering what the paperwork was for and saw that they wanted us to write down the name of the baby and the stats and situation in which the baby died. We were further along than we thought...so things changed. They had us fill out a birth certificate and past pregnancy history. We didn't expect this at all. It was so hard. We didn't realize that the state of Utah recognized this as a stillborn baby. Neil filled out the paperwork while I got dressed and we talked about what to put down for the answers. We named the baby Baby Spencer since we didn't know gender yet. They got me ready with my iv and antibiotics, etc. Then I looked at Neil and just lost it. I couldn't seem to stop crying. The nurses left and then we had a little while before the doctor came in. Neil held my hand and I cried. The doctor came in and we talked about the procedure. I asked her to find our gender and she said she would try and then we talked about what else we needed to do, like evaluate the placenta, etc. She told us about the risks and that she had asked two other doctors to aid her since it was a little bit more involved than normal. She went up to get ready and I got sent to the anesthesiologist. I was actually in the OR before I was under, which I've never experienced before. Then, I don't remember anything else until I woke up. I remember having this intense desire to hold my baby and asking the nurse if she could give her to me...and was confused why she wouldn't. She kept saying "just open your eyes sweetie and look around" over and over again. Finally I was able to and realized and remembered. It was a harsh sad reality. For some reason I knew it was a girl in that moment. And looking around my heart broke again.
I was exhausted and remember very little as they wheeled me to post-op to meet Neil. I remember hearing his voice and wanting him to hold me, but being so so tired. My throat was killing me since I was intubated and I was also starving since it had been almost 14 hours since I ate last. The nurse brought me some water and crackers. Then I asked Neil what the doctor said and how everything went. He said everything went well and that it was a girl. He was worried since it took almost an hour longer than normal, but since everything was okay he felt better. I knew it was a girl and laid their knowing and crying. I wanted a girl so badly. I such a strong desire to name her and hold her. I drifted in and out of sleep for a while and held Neil's hand for most of it. He was so sweet and caring...making sure I was okay and feeling somewhat normal. Once I really woke up I got ready to go, getting dressed and filling out the final paperwork and getting the pain meds and uterus contracting meds. They got a wheelchair for me and took me to the car. I was starving and so Neil and I grabbed some sandwiches from Kneaders on the way home. The drive was sad. It felt over...and yet I didn't feel closure. I told Neil that I wanted to name her and thought Lucy was a good name for her.
When we got home I could still feel the effects of the anesthesia and was exhausted. Neil gave me the needed medicine and then I went upstairs to take a nap. I fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow, but then I woke up suddenly crying and couldn't stop. Mason was napping and Neil had taken Preston to the store. I called for my mom and she came up and laid with me. She rubbed my head while I just cried and cried and told her about what happened, how it felt and hurt. She turned on some soothing music and just kept listening and rubbing my head until I fell asleep again. I'm so grateful she was here to help with the kids, as well as Neil and I. She helped me keep it together and also let me cry when I needed to. Monday was a hard day, but we got through it. Once I woke up Neil came and helped me go downstairs to see the boys and we talked. I told him again I wanted to name her and he agreed. We chatted about names and decided on Lucy Mae. He thought we should celebrate Lucy Mae day and get some pink balloons and all release them. It was beautiful and perfect for what our little family needed. Neil is such an amazing man and watching him think about this and talk about girl names was so perfect. We ate dinner and then each had a pink balloon to let go. I cried and cried, but it was a good cry. I felt some closure and happiness. I'm so grateful for the knowledge of a Heavenly Father that loves me and loves my Lucy Mae. Someday I will hold her and get to play with her.
I will always remember "Lucy Mae Day". I really have been changed forever. It's amazing how that can happen so suddenly. I wanted the day to keep going since I wanted to remember her a little more...but it felt like night came so fast. It was hard to stop thinking about everything that happened that day, but since I was exhausted I was able to sleep pretty well. Tuesday was a new day, which I am so thankful for. I decided the night before that I was going to put together a little box for her with a dress, my hospital bands, her birth certificate, a balloon from the Monday, and my experience and testimony. I'm still not sure why I wanted to do this, but for some reason it felt right to me...a remembrance box for her. During the day there were a few times when I couldn't help but cry. Funny little things, like rocking Mason to sleep and wanting to hold her. Or, playing with Preston and wondering who she would've looked like. I still cry when I think about those things, but I know that will get easier. Tuesday night my Mom watched the boys so that Neil and I could go to the temple. It was a beautiful experience. The feeling that exudes from those walls is so sacred. Neil and I sat and just soaked it in. I felt so at peace and happy. I love going to the temple. Afterwards we went to Target to find Lucy a dress. We chose this beautiful pink dress with a cute little white sweater. As we were looking Neil found two Superman jackets that had capes attached to the back in Preston and Mason's sizes. Needless to say we had to get them. So, we took our things to the check out and the cashier said, "so, you have two boys and a girl, huh. " I looked at Neil and almost burst into tears. I told him yes and we grabbed the bags and walked away. I did start crying as Neil wrapped an arm around me as we walked away and confirmed that yes, we have two boys and a girl. It was a tender moment. I loved that Lucy was recognized and mentioned. For some reason it just touched my heart. We then got something to eat and headed home. I arranged Lucy's box and can't seem to put it away anywhere, but just in my room. I want to be able to see it.
There seems to be a day, when everyone leaves and you feel most alone. For me, Wednesday was that day. My mom went home and I was left with the boys, which is totally normal, but felt so different. Life really has changed. My body feels it and I know my family feels it. Neil and I feel it the most...but as I have talked to family I see that they also feel the loss of our sweet girl. I'm so grateful for that support and love.
I am so grateful that Heavenly Father has given us an opportunity to live on this earth, even when it hurts so bad. I know that I can see and hold Lucy again and I am so excited for that experience. I can only dream of what it will be like. I am so blessed to have such a loving Heavenly Father. He knows me and I know that he cries with me. I know that through this I have also felt the love of my Savior. He understands me completely and has felt this pain. My family really can be an eternal family because of Him and all He has done.
Each day gets a little better. Winter is coming to an end and spring will be here soon. I feel hope when I read my scriptures, pray and spend time with my family. Thank you so much for your love and support. It is amazing how you can feel it, even from miles away.